Comparing Different Types Of Flooring: Hardwood vs. Laminate vs. Vinyl (LVP)

hardwood vs laminate vs vinyl

Your home can see a lot of traffic which means your floors take the brunt of all the action! If you are looking for hard flooring options then hardwood, laminate, and vinyl flooring offer a multitude of options to pick from. The following article addresses the key difference between the three floor types that can help you make a more informed decision when investing in flooring for your home. 

Which Is Better? Hardwood vs. Laminate vs. Vinyl

Hardwood vs. Laminate

If you are looking for something more timeless and aesthetically pleasing, then hardwood flooring is better than laminate. However, laminate is a great flooring material for functional settings where practicality is your utmost priority. Laminate is a good option to install in a child’s playroom, in the family den, or in parts of the house where children and pets spend most of their time running around. Hardwood flooring can stain and it can also change colour if exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. On the other hand, laminate is stain-resistant (can be easily wiped) and its colour will not fade in direct sunlight. Laminate is easier to install than hardwood flooring, as most laminate uses click-and-lock assembly which avoids the use of nails or glue. If you are looking for an easy-to-install, practical, and low-maintenance flooring option then laminate is better suited for you than hardwood flooring.

Hardwood vs. Vinyl

Vinyl is scratch-resistant, and its colour does not fade easily when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. Also, vinyl is waterproof whereas hardwood flooring is not. This makes vinyl a great option to install in washrooms and kitchens where accidental water spills can curl or shrink hardwood floors. In addition, hardwood floors can be resanded every 10 years, and vinyl floors can only be replaced and not repaired. Moreover, hardwood flooring is a renewable resource whereas vinyl flooring is not environmentally-friendly because it is made from PVC resin. Vinyl is a very low-maintenance and durable type of flooring and is increasingly being used in commercial applications for these reasons.

Laminate vs. Vinyl

Laminate and vinyl may seem similar to each other on the surface, and both are easier to install than hardwood flooring. However, there are some differences between the two that can influence your decision. For example, if you want to choose a flooring that is aesthetically pleasing, laminate offers options that are similar to hand-scaped hardwood, stone, and ceramics, among other materials. When it comes to water resistance, vinyl flooring is more water-resistant than laminate. As a matter of fact, all kinds of vinyl flooring are considered waterproof since sheet vinyl, LVT, and LVP are made with waterproof materials. In addition, when comparing laminate and vinyl, vinyl flooring is the easiest to clean and can even be wet mopped, unlike laminate which is not water-resistant and can get damaged by water sitting on it for too long.

Now you know what is the difference between hardwood, laminate and vinyl flooring.

Smith Bros. Floors has been in the flooring business for over a decade, and our expert team has the know-how of all the newest flooring trends! Contact us today. We will help you find the best laminate, hardwood, or vinyl flooring options tailored to your specific needs.


Choose the Right Flooring for Your Kitchen

Kitchen Flooring

Every room in your home deserves practical, durable, and beautiful flooring that suits your style. The kitchen is no exception. This room is the heart of the home, an important space for cooking, socializing, working and entertaining. It experiences a heap of foot traffic, many spills, frequent stains, temperature fluctuations and continual cleaning. You want the flooring in this room to be easy to maintain, comfortable to walk on and be able to last for years. Your kitchen floor has a big job to accomplish! So what is the best flooring for a kitchen? Which flooring choice meets your needs, goals and budget? The following is information about a variety of types, materials, colours, styles and textures available for your kitchen. The options are vast!

What should I consider when shopping for kitchen flooring?

  • Durability: Do you have children and/or pets? Do you spill sauce, drop pans and splash oil often? What type of wear and tear will your kitchen floor encounter? These questions help you decide the durability you require in your choice of flooring.
  • Style sense: Choose flooring that complements the style of your kitchen, whether it’s rustic, contemporary or country. Consider the colours, textures and patterns already present in the room in your walls, cabinets, and counters. 
  • Comfort: Look for flooring with a bit of softness and resilience. You want it to be comfortable to stand on for long periods.
  • Ease of cleaning: Kitchen floors get grimy! Choose a material that’s easy to clean as well as water and stain-resistant. 
  • Cost: Choose flooring that you can afford, taking into account delivery, installation, possible underlay and removal/disposal of the old floor. 

What types of flooring can I choose from?

Natural stone (granite/slate/marble) comes in a variety of colours and patterns and has plenty of character. It’s durable, long-lasting, easy to clean and not slippery. However, stone is pricey, expensive to repair when chipped and needs to be sealed following installation and re-sealed at regular intervals. With proper care stone is a beautiful and tough surface for your kitchen. Avoid limestone (tends to scratch) and travertine (is porous).

Porcelain tile comes glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles come with a glass-like coating that can be made in any colour and can look like just about anything, including fabrics and marble.  Unglazed tiles have the natural earthy colour of the clays used to make them. Porcelain tiles are waterproof, durable, can handle just almost any stain and some are certified to be slip-resistant. However, installation is difficult (requiring specialized tools) and your subfloor must be completely level.  

Ceramic tiles are made from clay and baked to a finish. They’re available in a wide variety of styles, shapes, colours, and patterns. Ceramic tiles handle spills, splatters, and messes. However, the grout used with these tiles stains, so clean up spills quickly. Ceramic has the least amount of options as far as looks but it’s extremely durable and has the lowest price-point in the tile market. Installation is difficult and requires specialized tools and the subfloor must be completely level. The glazed pattern and/or colour on this tile can be chipped, revealing the natural colour beneath. 

Hardwood is warm, beautiful, stylish and comfortable underfoot. It never goes out of style! This flooring combines durability with low maintenance. Properly finished hardwood is water-resistant but spills should be wiped up immediately. Hardwood floors can be slippery but some styles have hand-scraped or distressed finishes that provide extra surface area for traction. This choice of flooring is reasonably expensive and must be installed over a plywood subfloor. Depending on the thickness of your hardwood, you can sand and refinish your floors for an updated look, no need to replace the whole floor. Reclaimed, recycled, and environmentally sustainable choices are also available.

Engineered wood has a veneer of real wood backed by a layer of plywood or high-density fiberboard, making the planks stable and the flooring less susceptible to humidity and temperature. It’s less expensive than hardwood, features a scratch-proof finish, is easy to clean, durable and can be refinished when you need a new look. However, it is susceptible to fading, dents and scratches easily and may contain toxic chemicals. Keep in mind that, because the wood layer is relatively thin, there is a limit to the number of times you can refinish it successfully. Nail, staple, glue or even float engineered wood floors. Installation is a breeze!

Cork is waterproof, resilient and gives when compressed, making it a comfortable choice for kitchen floors. It has a textured surface, offering some slip resistance and, since it is made from tree bark that grows back, it’s a sustainable material. Cork comes prefinished, but needs to be resealed every 3 to 4 years to help prevent scratches and stains. Cork is naturally resistant to mould, mildew and termites and repels dust, hair, and other small particles from its surface. Because it doesn’t off-gas or shed microfibers, cork floors promote higher indoor air quality. Cork is also a natural thermal and acoustic insulator, which means rooms with cork flooring are warm and quiet. It resists cracking and abrasions and is impermeable to gas and liquid. It can be installed on uneven surfaces or over existing flooring. This material has one of the longest lifespans of any kitchen flooring options, lasting up to 40 years with proper care and maintenance! 

Linoleum is another green kitchen flooring option. It’s made from renewable, biodegradable cork powder and linseed oil and has no harmful VOCs. It’s a resilient flooring that comes in many patterns and colours, is available in sheets, tiles and panels, stands up well to foot traffic and is moisture-resistant. However, it’s a bit susceptible to staining. Lino can be installed over virtually any flat, dry, clean surface. It’s inherently antibacterial and antistatic, making it hygienic and easy to clean. It feels soft and comfortable underfoot. Make sure the product you purchase has a protective coating to guard against scratches and spills.

Luxury vinyl is 100% synthetic and comes in sheets, tiles and planks. The base layer is usually fiberglass, coated with PVC and a plasticizer. The resultant flooring is printed and embossed with a surface print (stone, wood, many patterns). Over this are placed multiple wear layers with a no-wax polyurethane topping. Vinyl offers a variety of styles and colours for those on a budget. It’s waterproof, stain proof, feels slightly soft underfoot and deadens sound. You can peel and stick, glue (permanently), lock and float, or loose lay vinyl. It’s a tough, durable flooring solution and can last up to 20 years. However, vinyl has a tendency to warp to any particles left beneath during installation, is not biodegradable and heavy furniture can result in scuffs and gouges that are difficult to remove.

Laminate is similar to luxury vinyl planks in look and method of installation. However, its core is made from wood byproducts bonded with resins. The surface is a hard, transparent plastic layer that covers the printed design. Laminate floors are warm, water-resistant, scratch-resistant, durable, easy to install, come in a variety of finishes, a diverse range of styles, colours, and patterns and are inexpensive. Mimicking hardwood colours and patterns is one of the selling features of laminate. Hand-scraped, distressed, rustic, and reclaimed looks are available. Most laminate floors can be clicked together and either permanently installed (glued down) or floated over uneven subfloors. Laminate is very easy to clean and maintain. Because laminate is an image, you cannot refinish your floors. This means when it’s time for a change, you will need to buy all new flooring. Laminate doesn’t degrade well in landfills and some options are made with chemicals such as formaldehyde which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

Many feet pass through your kitchen! Your flooring is exposed to moisture, spills, heat and scratches. Because the kitchen is a coveted room, the flooring needs to match its esteem while standing up to its use. Consider your kitchen flooring options carefully before buying. Make sure your choice meets your needs, matches your style and fits in your budget. Then enjoy your new kitchen!

Looking for quality flooring for your kitchen? Contact Smith Bros. Floors, one of Canada’s oldest flooring companies; family-owned and operated. We use industry-leading flooring and finishes because we want your flooring to last! With a tested crew of installers and finishers and a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and longevity, Smith Bros. quality cannot be beaten! Call us at 403-255-7791 for a free consultation.

Pet-Friendly Flooring

Pet-Friendly Flooring

Your pet is a part of your family, loved and loving. 58% of Canadian households report owning at least one pet. You adore your pets but they can be hard on your floors; leaving scratches, shedding hair requiring frequent floor cleaning and having accidents that cause staining and persistent odours. What do you do when your pet wreaks havoc on your floors? What type of flooring will stand up to life with the animal member(s) of your family? The following is an overview of some of the most popular types of flooring and how well they do or don’t handle the daily presence of your furry friends.

  • Vinyl flooring is a great option for families with pets. Luxury vinyl tile and vinyl sheets are highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to moisture, scratches, stains and dents. They hold up well against accidents and food/water bowl spills. Vinyl is easy to clean, easy to install and affordable. It will even soften the sound of pet nails and reduce skidding! 
  • Rigid core flooring combines the best attributes of many flooring products for the ultimate in dent, scratch and stain resistance. It’s a click-type plank vinyl flooring that doesn’t require any adhesives, is budget-friendly, comes in a wide range of styles and can realistically mimic the looks of both hardwood and tile. Rigid core flooring is waterproof making it perfect for water bowl spills and pets that are wet from the rain or a bath. 
  • Engineered tile: With engineered tile, you can achieve the authentic look and feel of traditional tile (stone or ceramic) with a scratch-resistant surface that is warmer and kinder to you and your pets. It is stain and soil repellent, easy to clean and absorbs sound. Wet or dry, it is slip-resistant, perfect for families with pets. 
  • Laminate flooring stands up against the scratches and stains of having a pet but is not typically fully waterproof. Moisture or puddles left to sit will be absorbed and may cause swelling and buckling. Laminate is not noise resistant and the slippery surface can be problematic for ageing pets.
  • Solid wood flooring: Excessive moisture will warp and ruin this flooring but it is resistant to surface moisture, spills and accidents. Waterproof options are available and provide some moisture protection. Hardwood is susceptible to scratches, may be difficult underfoot for pets and the typical dark colours show dander and pet hair. Though hardwood flooring may be sufficient for small pets, it is unlikely to withstand the wear and tear of large dogs. 
  • Engineered wood floors give you the best of both laminate and solid wood floors. The wear layer may be able to be sanded and refinished if scratches or spills become problematic. Choose a finish that has a “rustic” or distressed look. These styles already look worn, and any scratch marks will naturally blend in.
  • Cork flooring is a great choice for pet owners. It is antimicrobial, resistant to the development of bacterial growth, mold or other harmful allergens. It is scratch-resistant and sound-absorbing so cuts down on pet noises. Choose a lighter shade of cork flooring to minimize the look of any scratch marks. It requires little maintenance or daily upkeep and is an eco-friendly flooring that is good for the planet. 
  • Tile and stone flooring is water-resistant, stain-resistant and easy to clean. It can handle anything your pet throws its way. It is one of the best options when it comes to pet-friendly flooring. However, these floors are hard and cold making them uncomfortable for many pets. Make sure you provide soft area rugs or a pet bed somewhere in the house.
  • Bamboo flooring is extremely durable, stain-resistant and scratch-resistant. Choose a style that has a high hardness rating. Food and water spills or pet accidents won’t damage these floors. Plus, bamboo is very sustainable.


There are plenty of pet-friendly flooring options on the market. Even with a scratchy, furry, accident-prone pet at home, it’s possible to have beautiful floors. You just need to find the right type! 

Looking for quality flooring that can withstand the wear and tear of your pets? Contact Smith Bros. Floors, one of Canada’s oldest flooring companies; family-owned and operated. We use industry-leading flooring and finishes because we want your flooring to last! With a tested crew of installers and finishers and a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and longevity, Smith Bros. quality cannot be beaten! Call us at 403-255-7791 for a free consultation.